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Vic funding boost to put the safety of health workers first

07 March, 2017

Frontline workers and patients will benefit from additional safety measures to reduce and prevent violence in hospitals and mental health services through the second round of the Andrews Labor Government’s $20 million Health Service Violence Prevention Fund.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley recently announced 30 rural hospitals and nine metropolitan hospitals, as well as 10 mental health services will share in more than $7 million in funding.

The second round will see significant safety and security upgrades at these services, including additional CCTV, more personal duress devices and alarms, and new infrastructure such as security doors, windows and restricted access areas.

It also includes $500,000 for Ambulance Victoria to trial body worn cameras on paramedic uniforms and evaluate their effectiveness in protecting paramedics and reducing violence.

These projects build on the success of the first round of funding and continue to deliver on the Labor Government's election promise to reduce violence at hospitals and mental health services by improving facilities and making them safer for staff, patients and visitors.

The Victorian Auditor-General's Report into Occupational Health Violence Against Healthcare Workers found nurses, doctors, paramedics and other healthcare workers face particular risks because "they are at the frontline when it comes to dealing with people in stressful, unpredictable and potentially volatile situations."

The first round of funding saw Footscray Hospital and Sunshine Hospital receive high performance protective vests to enhance the safety of security officers.

And in Melbourne's east, it bought 90 state-of-the-art '3G Safety Watch' devices for mental health teams who work out in the community, allowing staff managing a crisis to quickly notify Emergency Services via '000' of their exact GPS location via a 24-hour security monitoring centre.

The Government is also funding a new public awareness campaign to reduce violence in Victorian hospitals as part of our plan to stop attacks against frontline health and mental health workers.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

"Our dedicated health care workers put themselves in incredibly vulnerable positions on our frontline – they deserve to feel as safe and secure as possible in the important work they do."

"This funding is going to make a difference to the working conditions of hospital staff, who work tirelessly every day caring for and saving the lives of so many Victorians."

Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley

"We're continuing to invest to make our mental health services safer and more secure for staff and patients alike."

"We have zero tolerance for violence and aggression against our mental health workers – they care for Victorians at their most vulnerable and they deserve our respect."

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